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UConn women’s basketball dominates Xavier, 78-41

Multiple Huskies set new career-highs in the victory.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn women’s basketball rolled to its second-consecutive blowout victory with a 78-41 win over the Xavier Musketeers at the XL Center.

Olivia Nelson-Ododa set career-highs with eight blocks and five steals while adding 11 points and six rebounds. Caroline Ducharme also set career-highs with seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals to go with 20 points. Christyn Williams followed up her big game at Butler with a 19-point, five-rebound, and three-assist day.

The Huskies’ defense stifled Xavier from the start. They forced 24 turnovers and held the Musketeers to just 27 percent shooting and a 1-of-9 performance from beyond the arc.

UConn jumped out on a dominant 11-0 run to put Xavier away early. Six of the Musketeers’ 10 possessions ended in turnovers and they missed all but two of their first 14 shots. While Xavier did find its footing towards the end of the opening quarter and scored on a fast-break layup before the buzzer, the Huskies still led by 15 points.

UConn’s offense did hit a rough patch at the start of the second and only made one of its first eight shots in the period. But the defense held Xavier to just four points in the first five minutes of the quarter to keep the sizable lead intact.

Nelson-Ododa, Williams, and Ducharme teamed up to help the Huskies re-find their mojo. On two straight possessions, Nelson-Ododa forced a turnover — first a steal, then a block — and gave it to Williams, who found Ducharme on the fast break. That extended UConn’s lead to 20 — its largest of the day to that point — and forced Xavier into a timeout.

The Musketeers had no answer for the Huskies on either end of the floor and UConn went into halftime with a 48-23 lead.

Out of the break, the Huskies scored another nine straight points to extend the gap past 30 points. Piath Gabriel started the fourth quarter and scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting during a career-high 10 minutes of action as UConn put the final touches on a 37-point victory.

Nika Mühl tied for the team lead in assists for the third straight game with five and also added six rebounds and four steals. Evina Westbrook struggled offensively in her second game off the bench with just five points on 2-of-6 shooting but still helped out with four assists, three rebounds, and a thunderous block in the final minutes. Dorka Juhász finished with eight rebounds.

The Huskies improve to 9-3 overall and 4-0 in Big East play. They will have one day to head out west for a meeting with Oregon on Monday at 5 p.m.